Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Weigh-In Procedure?

A reader wrote in a comment to the CRCA post that the CRCA lightweight committee is re-evaluating weigh-ins and is advocating that part of the weigh-in procedure will be a urinalysis. This test would measure hydration. I discussed these tests before and noted that it is very easy to turn up as dehydrated. My guess (and that's all it is) is that if you or I were tested right now we'd both show up as dehydrated. The problem is that the only way to ensure you pass this test is to overhydrate. Even a rower whose natural weight is 130 pounds, just the kind of woman you'd want rowing lightweight, can't risk overhydrating before a weigh-in. Does this mean she's taking risks with her health? Of course not. It means she weighs 130 and can't afford to be bloated with water before a weigh-in. This procedure may actually result in rowers losing weight to 125 so they can fill up with 5 pounds of water before weighing-in.

Trying to get a handle on weight control issues is a good thing. The problem is that no test or rule will ever really work. The only thing that works is having responsible coaches in focused lightweight programs working with good trainers. As this reader noted, serious lightweight programs have trainers and team doctors who weigh rowers away from coaches to make sure weight control is being handled properly.

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